Review: In Ruin - A Ghost To Be Forgotten (2008)


artist: In Ruin
release: A Ghost to be For­got­ten
format: CD
year of release: 2008
label: Heiden­Volk
dur­a­tion: 47:54

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

A Ghost to be For­got­ten is finally released. I won’t go in on how I waited for this album for years. I will just say that I am glad that it’s finally out, and give Henryk Vogel and his Heiden­Volk label my regards. I think this is the first non-Dark­wood album on Heiden­Volk and hope­fully it marks a new era in the label’s his­tory; my hopes are that Vogel will con­tinue to release other artist’s works, because he obvi­ously has an ear for qual­ity.

Four years of writ­ing, record­ing and pro­du­cing… What made In Ruin’s last release Seeds of the Past a clas­sic for me was its sim­pli­city and ‘min­imal’ sound. Need­less to say, I had high expect­a­tions of this album, but also wor­ries about that it might be over-produced after all this time. Now, with the album in hand and the songs in ear, I can gladly say that those wor­ries were, or are, unanswered. But what made Seeds of the Past a clas­sic is gone, leav­ing place for other qual­it­ies that includes a much richer sound. But it’s not only time and pro­gress that sculp­tured the new sound; In Ruin is now a duo and no longer the pro­ject of Terry Col­lia alone. Alex Hath­away is the name of the new mem­ber, and bass, elec­tric gui­tar, flute and piano are his roles. There are also noble guest appear­ances from Kim Larsen from :Of The Wand And the Moon: (back­ing vocals, some gui­tar work), earlier men­tioned Henryk Vogel (spoken word, bass and little per­cus­sion) and Isaac Aubrey (back­ing vocals) to men­tion some of the big names. More anonym­ous are Nadja – cello, and Valentin – violin.

I will try to do this ‘explain every song in short’-review on this album and begin with “Frus­tra­tion”. After an intro of ambi­ence, Terry plucks his acous­tic gui­tar and the sound does some­how remind me of some­thing from Seeds of the Past but more ‘poppy’ (I don’t like to use the word ‘pop’ to this kind of music but it seems as it is an accep­ted term). “Frus­tra­tion” is a good title. Both the lyr­ics and the vocals have a frus­trated feel­ing.
The next two songs are more tra­di­tional neo­folk, pretty much in the vein of :OTWATM:’s Sonnen­heim and these two songs are also true high­lights. “Frag­men­ted Hearts” is slow, with a tra­di­tional folk melody on bass and elec­tric gui­tars. Henryk Vogel con­trib­utes with some spoken word and the back­ground is full of inter­est­ing ambi­ent. “Cold Com­fort” is a standout with a very unpre­dict­able bass-line, almost funky, and sooth­ing gui­tar solos.
“I still Won­der” is a rearranged ver­sion of “I Won­der” from Seeds of the Past. It doesn’t dif­fer that much, though. It was a nice neo­folk song back then and still is. “Hope and Pain” seems bor­ing to begin with but awakes in the refrain. Reminds of the mel­low side of Ana­thema, or Anti­mat­ter. The same can be said about “Refuge of Lies” – slow start, great end­ing, even though it sounds pretty dif­fer­ent. The ninth track is untitled and does not have any vocals, but is a nice dark folk and ambi­ent piece non­ethe­less. The title track that comes next is rather unre­mark­able though. It could as well be an inter­lude on some goth-rock album. And it’s a shame that the vocals are bare­ley hear­able.
To fin­ish it off, In Ruin has recor­ded their ver­sion of “Fol­lowe Thy Faire Sun Unhappy Shad­dowe” together with Kim Larsen, who first made this tra­di­tional song famil­iar in neo­folk circles on his Luci­fer album. If the second and the third tracks are high­lights, then this one has to be THE high­light. I love the cello and the drums, com­bined with the beau­ti­ful melody and Terry’s whispered vocals. All this is nicely bound together in a stun­ningly designed digi­pack.

So, was it worth four years of wait­ing? Yes. Did you like the pre­vi­ous release? Buy this one as well! Are you look­ing for fresh and really good neo­folk but are not afraid of exper­i­ments? A Ghost to be For­got­ten is for you.

Reviewed by CME

Track­list:

1. Frus­tra­tion (3:52)
2. Let Us Kiss and Part (3:25)
3. Always Faith­ful (2:01)
4. Frag­men­ted Hearts (4:26)
5. Cold Com­fort (3:49)
6. I Still Won­der (3:55)
7. Hope and Pain (3:52)
8. Refuge of Lies (4:05)
9. Untitled (2:56)
10. A Ghost to Be For­got­ten (3:45)
11. Fol­lowe Thy Faire Sunne Unhappy Shad­dowe (11:55)